Chance for top amateur to compete in professional European Tour Group event.
The season is up and running. Goals have been set and hopefully targets will be achieved. The main goal for this year’s NI Amateur Open entrants is to secure a place in the NI Open at Galgorm Castle and the rare chance to compete alongside Europe’s top professionals.
This year’s NI Amateur Open, sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena and SrixonCleveland, will take place at Galgorm Castle on Tuesday 18th July. The 36-hole strokeplay event is restricted to 72 competitors in a two-tee start and demand for places has always been high for this prestigious event.
One of the province’s top-ranked events will be played on a key date on the calendar just one week after the GUI’s North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush. The winner will join an illustrious list of champions in this the ninth year of the NI Amateur Open.
Last year Irish international Colin Fairweather (Knock) booked his place in the NI Open with a winning total of 146. Former Walker Cup player Cormac Sharvin won in 2012, while former Irish Internationals, Reeve Whitson (2010) and Tiernan McLarnon (2015) also feature on the roll of honour.
Ballymena favourite Dermot McElroy has moved into the paid ranks, but he too is a former NI Amateur Open champion from 2013.
“I always enjoy competing at Galgorm Castle. It’s such a great golf course and always presented in excellent condition,” said McElroy. “Through winning the NI Amateur Open in 2013, I booked my place in the NI Open and had a great week competing against some of the best players in Europe. I managed to finish tied ninth that year as an amateur and that gave me a lot of confidence.”
The NI Open is integral to the development of elite Irish amateurs and young professionals seeking to make their mark in the paid ranks. No amateurs will gain an automatic place at this year’s Irish Open at Ballyliffin, instead a number of amateurs will be invited to compete in the Irish Open pre-qualifer. This means winning the NI Amateur Open is a rare opportunity for the 2018 champion to test their game against the best professionals in Europe.
This year’s NI Open takes place at Galgorm Castle from August 16-19 and will be one of the standout events on the European Challenge Tour. Last year over 43,000 spectators came through the gates during tournament week and this year promises to be another week-long celebration of golf in Northern Ireland.
“We will have another action-packed week of activities, both on and off the course, for all the family. I am particularly looking forward to the GolfNow Junior NI Open, which was a great success for our budding stars of the future. The Junior NI Open will again be played over our pitch and putt course throughout the week of the event,” explains Ross Oliver, Director of Golf at Galgorm Castle.
“Every year we introduce something new to the NI Open and this year will be no different. We’ll have an outstanding new clubhouse bar, restaurant and roof garden in partnership with Galgorm Resort & Spa, which will serve up one of the best dining options in the country.
“Also new for 2018 will be the NI Open Showstage where live music and bands wil play over the weekend of the event and further add to the festival atmosphere.”
Entry for the NI Amateur Open is £35 (€45) and includes lunch. Forms can be downloaded HERE and entries close on Wednesday 11th July 2018. For further information, contact the Galgorm Castle Professional Shop on +44 (0) 28 2564 6161.
(The NI Open has always been free to enter for all the family and will be the same this year. To get your tickets for the 2018 event, simply register online at niopen.golf).
CAPTION FOR PIC
Knock amateur Colin Fairweather in action during the 2017 NI Open at Galgorm Castle after winning NI Amateur Open the same year (Photo: PressEye).